Increase in Finisher Mortality

UK - A quick email survey of pig vet specialists suggests that finisher mortality rates have increased this winter and in particular the number of sudden deaths in otherwise “good“ pigs.
calendar icon 6 March 2006
clock icon 3 minute read
British Pig Executive Cases investigated seem to have been of acute respiratory disease (Pasteurella, Strep suis Haemophilis parasuis and APP have been isolated), PDNS and bloody gut (the increased amount of wheat or the new strains fed possibly involved?). In Scotland there have been a few herds with increases in PDNS and late PMWS cases in finishers but there does not appear to be a generalised problem.

In East Anglia there has been quite a lot of work into these sudden/respiratory type deaths led by VLA Bury. Many of them have a strong viral influence, either PRRS or PCV2 are the most common and can be found in combination.

Late stage PMWS occurring at 55kg plus presents as ‘sudden deaths’ with typical PMWS type lymph nodes (mainly those associated with the respiratory tract) or as severe pneumonias which are poorly responsive to treatment but later wasters less common.

Similar pictures have apparently been reported in other countries which have had PMWS for longer. However, nothing like all of the cases are simply late stage PMWS and good veterinary advice and money spent on diagnosis is needed as in many cases prompt and effective treatment or prevention of the non-PMWS cases can reduce mortality rates.

There is also concern at the level of condemnations with increases in “pyaemia“ and “arthritis“ especially. This would also reflect finisher problems if a true rise rather than a lowered tolerance or increased awareness by meat inspectors.

The increase may not be generalised but there may be some herds with more of an arthritis problem than they used to have. In the future the British Pigs Health Scheme abattoir monitoring and the on-farm NADIS (National Animal Disease Information Service) service funded by BPEX will allow this type of change in disease patterns to be identified more quickly so advice on how to minimise problems can given at an earlier stage and action can be taken on farm to reduce losses.

BPEX would like to thank all the veterinary surgeons who responded to the email survey.

Source: BPEX - 6th March 2006
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